It is easy to lose focus on the fundamentals, the building blocks, as we carry out the mission to which God has called us. Each of us has a mission to which God has called but our daily activity can be like a snow ball, picking up clutter along the way. In the life of a leader, there is a constant need for the discipline to refocus our lives to ensure that we continue to carry out the mission to which God has called us. Refocusing maintains the aim of the original mission.
It is easy to lose focus of the fundamentals within pastoral ministry; there are always projects to work on, people to call and lessons to prepare. In the midst of all of this good work, fundamentals can easily be overlooked. A leader must maintain the discipline of returning to the fundamentals which are the building blocks of greater things. The late, great Coach of the UCLA Bruins, John Wooden, was a master at emphasizing the importance of fundamentals. Wooden wrote, “…on the first day of practice I personally showed players how to put on their sweat socks to prevent blisters…Socks, put on correctly, may prevent a turnover, which in turn may win a game. What if that game is for the national championship?” The stakes are much higher in pastoral ministry only the results are not as readily seen as the wins and losses of an athletic competition. One of the simple fundamentals of pastoral ministry is discipleship.
The pastoral ministry is too important to not personally make disciples. The calling of God is too great not to personally make disciples. The Pastoral ministry is too demanding not to practice the discipline of removing the clutter that accumulates with the task and returning to the simple task of putting your socks on correctly and teaching others to put on their socks correctly as well. A Pastor must be a disciple maker, not just from the pulpit but on an individual basis. The task of disciple making does not come with fanfare and does not happen with a crowd but it is the way that great men and great churches are built.
Jesus was a disciple maker. Jesus commanded His disciples not to go but to make disciples, they were already going. If you make a close study of Jesus’ disciple making process, you will see that He taught His disciples in life, as they were going, not in an institutionalized class. I was struck by this statement by Warren Wiersbe in my personal time with God. He wrote, “The older generation must provide for the next generation, not only materially but most of all spiritually. “Senior saints” must be examples of believers and encourage the younger generation to trust the Lord and wholly follow Him.” Maybe you read these words and as you assess your life you do not see a faith that reproduces a life worth emulating. If that is the case, please be willing to ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help, only in failing to grow. Personal growth takes an investment.
Pastor, wipe away the clutter and begin to pour into someone’s life. Do you want to see the church of which God has made you a steward to make an impact on your community? In order to make an impact you must build men, leaders, and disciples to multiply your effort. Pastor, return to the fundamental task of “…teaching them to observe all things…” Let’s impact the world for Jesus’ fame!